IT'S A LIVING
BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #14.5
J Church and Honey BearRecords Month of Goddess Maia
She's a killing machine
Oh, sweet civilization! I lost the internet for a whole week and I felt
like I was regressing to a hunter/gatherer. Anyway, I'm back. I'm sending
out the J Church live records. I'm catching up with all of my emails.
It's fucked at the moment. But I'm getting there.
I've started a little tape label for fun. It's just something to do to
keep some weird little things available. I'm sort of at that point where
I can't really stand CDRs, so I've made the live J Church items out of
print. I sold about 200 of each, which seems like plenty.
The tape label is called OTP Tapes or Off The Pigs Tapes. It's the same
name I used to use when I used to bootleg live recordings of the Clash
and give 'em to friends. The first tape release is a collection of Cilantro
recordings that wound up on J Church records. It's titled Amounts Of
Nothing and features Birthday, A Letter To A Friend,
I Can't Be Nice To You, My Lie, Asha Blake, Harvest,
Indignation, Earthquake Song, Star Of The Show, Jazz
Butcher On A Work Night, Tricky, Enemy Of Satan and
Time. Harvest is a Neil Young cover and Time is a
Richard Hell cover.
Speaking of upcoming Cilantro projects. I am remixing the lost tapes
for the second EP, so hold on if you wanted one. I'm also gonna put
together a second tape of all new Cilantro material for a second tape
at the same time.
Amounts Of Nothing are $4.00 ppd and you can Pay Pal me at honeybearrecords@....
SEISHUN ZANKOKU MONOGATARI US TOUR 2005 part 2
July 3rd Milwaukee, WI
We all meet up for lunch at the Chicago Café. The fake meat Ruben
is unbelievable. I get that, the tea and the soup. Cissie winds up ordering
the exact same thing accidentally. We are in synch with the Pedestrians.
Love that band. Nice little patio out back too. We leave Virginia and
company and hit the road for old Milwaukee.
Robert is running the show tonight so it's gonna be cool. Basement
shows can rule if the person in charge knows their shit. It's always a
relief to show up at a gig and see someone like Robert around. You can
relax right away.
Lots of great bands tonight. Crucial Attack from Reno are great. Old
school sXe hardcore, Skeeno style even doing Young 'Til I Die.
Classic. Cool guys too. It's great to find poison free kids that are cool
and smart and not a bunch of right wing douche bags. They got added to
this show at the last minute when the basement they were meant to play
got shut down. It sucks for them, but I'm really glad we got to see them.
Lots of bands. Lots of fun. Best of all? Birthday Suit! One of the
guitarists from Sweet J.A.P. and a fucking amazing drummer do what
truly makes me think of that first great Some Velvet Sidewalk LP.
Hanging out at the backyard bar-b-que, I find out that not only was
the drummer born in Hawaii, but at Queen's Hospital just like me!
That's totally wild!
Hung out all night with Robert and Karoline. We did what we could to
help with their bathroom / art project (if you have to ask
basically feasted on piles of amazing food they always seem to be
surrounded by. I like their house too. I always look forward to
hanging out. It's like Gypsy Hill or Yoichi's old place in
Shimo-Kitazawa. It's a little relaxing refuge from tour.
July 4th Minneapolis, MN
Robert rode with us today. We also picked up Justin from Chinese
Telephones. He's cool too. Robert brought along an amazing CD of
Patton Oswalt. It's the funniest thing I've heard in ages. I saw him
live once years ago back when I was still in San Francisco. I wanna
say it was something with Janeane Garofalo or something. He's the
king. He's so funny. I've gotta get a copy of this CD.
The Triple Rock is amazing, right? Of course it is. Now imagine
playing there on America's birthday with Dillinger Four. It was a wild
Words can't describe the pleasure I got from watching Metallagher. Believe
it. They're a surprisingly solid Metallica tribute band fronted by a Gallagher
impersonator. While the band ripped through their material, the Gallagher
frontman was smashing watermelons and other fruit with a sledgehammer.
In between songs he told some classics. "They shouldn't call it 'social
security'. They should call it 'so-so' security." all with that nasal
Our pals in Heads and Bodies were next. They are another one of those
bands who almost have a familiar sound. But because of their
instrumentation, there's nobody like them. I've always dug them. But
they are especially amazing with the new drummer. At one point I
thought he was playing double kick. Nope. He was just powering through.
Dillinger Four were wastedly amazing. They were shotgunning beers and
doing shots between songs. At one point, Billy was so gone he didn't
even bother playing the song just pounding beers all the way through.
He was pretty crazy and obliterated by the end of the night. We were
meant to crash at his place. But Paddy saved us from that fate. Got
some snacks and went back to his pad and chatted into the wee hours.
that was cool as we never seem to usually have the time for that.
July 5th Carbondale, IL
Lost Cross in Carbondale is like a deleted scene from Suburbia.
A punker house barely held together with duct tape for the last decade
or so, it was nice to be even the smallest part of that legacy. I mean,
it's fucked. The toilet is a disgrace. I don't know if there's running
water in the pipes. There is running water on the floor of the basement
where the bands play. It's crazy but cool, y'know?
Panic Button were fucking great. Excellent '80s OC style punk with a
couple of snotty looking teen punkettes for good measure. A really solid
set and it was exciting as you really felt that this was one of those
bands that has a time limit. They'll never make it out of Carbondale so
you've got to be as lucky as us to ever get to see them. You've gotta
appreciate it too as you may never see them again. I've gotta get their
We stayed in the attic of a different punk house. It was dark and I always
have a hard time sleeping in these situations. First of all, I really
am at the age where I need to shower after playing a show. But also, dark
cluttered attic? I always feel like I've set up my sleeping bag on a nest
of spiders or something. The girls who lived at the house were cool and
at least one of them was arty farty. I mean that in a good way. We were
surrounded by big brightly colored canvasses with somewhat disturbing
imagery. Now that I read that back, it sounds like I'm making fun of her
art, but it was really pretty cool.
IN THE J CHURCH LISTENING ROOM
A STATE OF MIND / CHUMBAWAMBA split 7"
For a long time, this record was the template for me. It was catchy punk
with a heavy anarcho slant with beautiful packaging that was unlike what
most punk looked like at the time. The fact that both were exciting up-and-coming
bands made the record seem sort of urgent. It was one of those records
you thought was going to be historic.
It turns out that it was mostly forgotten. A State Of Mind only ever
got it together to do one more record. Chumbawamba took a different
musical path and became superstars. This little split record quickly
became a fossil.
But it's great. With the original versions of Invasion and Isolation,
Chumbawamba turn in two of their best songs. Fast, guitar pop with rudimentary
versions of those vocal harmonies that are their signature. Reflecting
what they were doing on their early demo tapes, the recording quality
is much better.
A State Of Mind were Bay Area peace punks though not so much of the
Crucifix / COP variety. Like Chumbawamba, they weren't so much thrashy
and even tried their hand at vocal harmonies. In some ways they were
more like Flipper or even Proletariat.
Despite everything, this record has something of a cult appeal though
the collector scum have mostly ignored it. I'm kinda surprised none of
this stuff ever made it to disc. (Agit-Matter Records)
BRAIN HANDLE - s/t EP
First of all, what a great looking record. It's cool and it's punk without
looking like your stereotypical hardcore 7". They get the feel of
it, which is most important.
They get it musically too. Three great hardcore tracks on the first side.
At times, the melodic guitar lines and intense (but not screamed) vocals
bring to mind early Articles of Faith and Neon Christ. Other times it's
the more straightforward attack of groups like N.O.T.A. or even the Adolescents.
Side two is filled with one, long, and painful number that is more reminiscent
of one of the slower songs off The Kids Will Have Their Say. It's
a great transition for the band. I can't wait to hear what they do next.
(Brain Handle, PO Box 10223, Pittsburgh, PA 15232)
CONCRETE SOX - Your Turn Next LP
Okay, stay with me now. Concrete Sox were the Mudhoney of the '80s UK
thrash scene. Remember when Mudhoney came out and everyone thought they
were gonna be the next big thing? For a while, they were the hottest SubPop
band. They're still my fave of the original SubPop stable. But all of
a sudden they got run out of town by the Nirvana-machine. Ditto for Concrete
This is the album that really brought that scene to international attention.
Children of the Revolution were doing some interesting things and there
were rumors of this back to basic hardcore scene happening. Then this
album came out and it was everywhere. Awesome stripped down lyrics with
a heavy animal rights angle, they were born out of the scene that produced
Conflict, the Sears and Anti-Cimex (all bands they namecheck on the thanks
list). The cover depicts a fox aiming for revenge on a hunter. They were
taking a musical form that had otherwise become more and more thug-like
and macho, giving it an intelligent edge that answered a lot of people
that couldn't get with '80s straight edge policies though maybe couldn't
get with Chumbawamba's music either. It's a ferocious record that, in
retrospect, is not nearly as metal as people claimed. It's sort of the
epitome with the genre. It even starts with a sample from Suspiria
and has an awesome shitty collage on the lyric sheet!
Within a year, Concrete Sox would be overshadowed by the first Napalm
Death effort. But they remained a solid band through the good and bad
times with this as a powerful starting point. (C.O.R. Records)
DEEP PURPLE - Made In Japan 2xLP
I love Deep Purple. Richie Blackmore is one of my main guitar heroes.
You can keep your fucking Sabbath's and Zep's and whatever UK '70s hard
rock you listen to. For me it was Deep Purple all the way and this record
is their finest moment.
Look, this whole seven song double LP is fucking great. Child In Time
is fucking insane and I even enjoy that tired old Smoke On The Water.
But the one song that is totally worth the entry fee is Highway Star.
A great moment on the Machine Head LP, it's a whole new thing live.
That song exemplifies at how ferocious the band must have been at that
time. They're playing the song at breakneck speed and not missing a phrase.
The drums are insane, the keyboard solo is fantastic and the bass is fucking
flowing. Gillan belts out the notes that might have got him the Jesus
Christ Superstar gig. But most of all, the solo is amazing. Blackmore
lets go like never before perfectly blending lightning fast classical
passages with Hendrix-like blues breaks to form a solo that's both unusual
and jaw-droppingly complex at the same time. This guy was the king. (Warner
FAITH/VOID - split 12"
FAITH - Subject To Change 12"
When the Faith/Void split came out, it seems like everyone took sides.
It was one or the other. Me and my friends went with Faith. In fact, I
don't think I listened to the Void side more than a couple of times. It
just seemed so sloppy. I probably thought it was too metal at the time.
The Faith side still sounds great to me if not a lot rough than I remember.
It's Time is like their theme song. Along with Marginal Man, this
was a big transitional album for me with the angry guy hardcore lyrics
that typified the first wave getting slowly replaced by equally angry,
but more introspective words.
Faith's only other record was Subject To Change and it furthers
the ideas of the debut. The first wave East Coast hardcore is still there
but with open chords and melodic parts that would later define the two
bands that came out of Faith's split: Rites of Spring and Ignition. Aware
is a fantastic opener with Alec setting the pace with manic vocals somewhere
between brother Ian and Crucifix. The chorus of Untitled is an
unusual sing along that sounds like Government Issue trying to work out
something by the Byrds. It's a real shame that this band didn't do more.
GORILLA ANGREB - Bedre Tider 12"
First listen and I sort of thought this record kinda sucked. It seemed
so powerless and half-assed compared to the energy of their previous recordings.
But I gave it some time, came back and really absorbed it. Now it might
be my favorite Gorilla Angreb recording.
I think I read a review that Paul wrote in MRR saying that it was the
first record of theirs where he really noticed the X influence. I guess
I see that to. The first song has a Real Child Of Hell type riff
and the downbeat guitar riff of the second song can't help but be a reference
to Los Angeles, right? Did the band read any of their own press
and let that influence them? Either way it sounds good and they ultimately
don't sound anything like X. What I mean to say is that the singers don't
sound anything like John Doe or Exene. They've got their own thing and
their own odd but engaging harmonies going on. The loose phrasing of the
back-up vocals are almost reminiscent of the Au Pairs where as the main
vocals are more in the Euro punk tradition of Life
But How To Live
Five solid tracks on this record on really nice vinyl. Funky cover art
of black humor and sentimentality. I hope they never sing in English.
They should be the biggest thing ever. But I kind of hope they stay the
underground's best kept secret. (Feral
ZOUNDS - Go All The Way EP
No, the first (and possibly only) offering from the restoration version
of Zounds is not a tribute to Eric Carmen and the Raspberries. This self-released
EP is what's left of from what I understand was a full-length LP session.
For whatever reason, the band weren't too happy with the results and only
these three songs are coming out.
I have to say that I really like this little trio of tunes and it
makes me really wanna hear what the rest of the recordings are like.
It's not typical Zounds. The band is different. Drummer Stick is more
known for his work in groups like Doom and E.N.T. Bassist Protag is
more known as the Mob's driver. The group has a much heavier sound
with bigger sounding guitars and more "punk" sounding drums.
ways it's more straightforward than the old stuff.
But the vocals and tunefulness is still there and that's what reminds
you that you could only be listening to Steve Lake. The songs are
three bitter songs about the war and US manipulation. It's great to
hear a perspective from someone in the UK that doesn't just feel
anti-American, but feels like their government was manipulated by ours.
C'mon guys! Don't split. Get that album to sound how you like and get
those songs out! (Zounds)
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